1. Academic Validation
  2. The Mechanism of Action of Ginkgolic Acid (15:1) against Gram-Positive Bacteria Involves Cross Talk with Iron Homeostasis

The Mechanism of Action of Ginkgolic Acid (15:1) against Gram-Positive Bacteria Involves Cross Talk with Iron Homeostasis

  • Microbiol Spectr. 2022 Feb 23;10(1):e0099121. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.00991-21.
Zewen Wen  # 1 2 Yuxi Zhao  # 1 2 Zhengyang Gong  # 1 2 Yuanyuan Tang 1 2 Yanpeng Xiong 1 2 Junwen Chen 1 2 Chengchun Chen 1 2 Yufang Zhang 1 3 Shanghong Liu 1 2 Jinxin Zheng 1 2 Duoyun Li 1 2 Qiwen Deng 1 2 Zhijian Yu 1 2


  • 1 Department of Infectious Diseases and Shenzhen Key Laboratory for Endogenous Infections, Huazhong University of Science and Technology Union Shenzhen Hospital, Shenzhen, China.
  • 2 Guangdong Key Laboratory for Biomedical Measurements and Ultrasound Imaging, School of Biomedical Engineering, Shenzhen University Health Science Center, Shenzhen, China.
  • 3 Shenzhen College of International Education, Shenzhen, China.
  • # Contributed equally.

With the increasing reports of community-acquired and nosocomial Infection caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-positive pathogens, there is an urgent need to develop new antimicrobial agents with novel Antibacterial mechanisms. Here, we investigated the Antibacterial activity of the natural product ginkgolic acid (GA) (15:1), derived from Ginkgo biloba, and its potential mode of action against the Gram-positive bacteria Enterococcus faecalis and Staphylococcus aureus. The MIC values of GA (15:1) against clinical E. faecalis and S. aureus isolates from China were ≤4 and ≤8 μg/mL, respectively, from our test results. Moreover, GA (15:1) displayed high efficiency in biofilm formation inhibition and bactericidal activity against E. faecalis and S. aureus. During its inhibition of the planktonic bacteria, the Antibacterial activity of GA (15:1) was significantly improved under the condition of abolishing iron homeostasis. When iron homeostasis was abolished, inhibition of planktonic bacteria by GA (15:1) was significantly improved. This phenomenon can be interpreted as showing that iron homeostasis disruption facilitated the disruption of the functions of ribosome and protein synthesis by GA (15:1), resulting in inhibition of Bacterial growth and cell death. Genetic mutation of ferric uptake regulator (Fur) led to GA (15:1) tolerance in in vitro-induced resistant derivatives, while overexpression of Fur led to increased GA (15:1) susceptibility. Additionally, GA (15:1) significantly decreased the Bacterial loads of S. aureus strain USA300 in the lung tissues of mice in a pneumonic murine model. Conclusively, this study revealed an antimicrobial mechanism of GA (15:1) involving cross talk with iron homeostasis against Gram-positive pathogens. In the future, the natural product GA (15:1) might be applied to combat infections caused by Gram-positive pathogens. IMPORTANCE The increasing emergence of infectious diseases associated with multidrug-resistant Gram-positive pathogens has raised the urgent need to develop novel Antibiotics. GA (15:1) is a natural product derived from Ginkgo biloba and possesses a wide range of bioactivities, including antimicrobial activity. However, its Antibacterial mechanisms remain unclear. Our current study found that the function of ferric uptake regulator (Fur) was highly correlated with the antimicrobial activity of GA (15:1) against E. faecalis and that the Antibacterial activity of GA (15:1) could be strengthened by the disruption of iron homeostasis. This study provided important insight into the mode of action of GA (15:1) against Gram-positive bacteria and suggested that GA (15:1) holds the potential to be an antimicrobial treatment option for Infection caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-positive pathogens.


E. faecalis; Fur; antibacterial mechanism; ferric uptake regulator; ginkgolic acid (15:1); iron homeostasis.